05 July 2011

Pintade et patates

I haven't been posting a lot of recipes or food pictures lately, but that doesn't mean I'm not still cooking. Yesterday I cooked a guinea hen — in French une pintade — with mushrooms and some pan-roasted new red potatoes.

It's a really simple recipe that makes a delicious main course. I won't go into how you cut up a pintade — the same way you cut up a whole chicken, duck, or turkey, in fact — because I assume that you either already know, or that you buy poultry already cut into pieces. Here in France we can buy it that way too, but only if we want to use battery-raised chickens.

You can see that the flesh of the guinea fowl is pink,
rather than white like chicken. The taste and texture
are different too, but pintade is not as
gamy-tasting as turkey, for example.

You can make this recipe with chicken, or course, and you could also do it with duck. Pintade, duck, or free-range chicken, with their firm flesh, will give the tastiest result. The first step is to brown the poultry pieces in a mixture of butter and olive oil in a pan. Use a high-sided pan or pot with a heavy bottom. The heavy bottom will distribute heat evenly, and the high sides will prevent grease spattering all over your stove or cooktop.

Sliced and sautéed shitake mushrooms

At the same time, slice up and sauté some mushrooms in a separate pan. I used shiitaké mushrooms but button mushrooms or other varieties like oyster mushrooms would be good too. When the mushrooms have rendered their juice and started to brown, take them off the heat.

Start the pintade or poulet pieces by putting them skin side down in the hot pan. Turn them after three to five minutes, when the skin is well browned and starting to turn crispy. Let them cook about the same amount of time on the other side. Then add a sliced or diced onion or, better, about three shallots to the pan, along with some fresh or dried thyme. Salt and pepper all, and then pour on about a cup of white wine.

First brown the poultry pieces on both sides, and then add
shallots, thyme, and white wine to the pan for the braise.

Add the mushrooms and any mushroom juices to the pan at this point. Cover the pan and let it cook on low on top of the stove, or put it in a 325ºF / 160ºC oven, for 30 to 45 minutes while you cook the potatoes. I like poultry well cooked and tender, so I'd cook it for the full 45 minutes.

The potatoes are easy. Use new potatoes that are firm-fleshed (red, Yukon gold, King Edward, Charlotte, etc.) and of a fairly uniform size. Wash them but don't peel them. Put them in a separate pan with melted butter and oil, shake them around to coat them with the fat, and let them cook for two or three minutes uncovered. Then add two or three peeled garlic cloves, some thyme, and salt and pepper to the pan. Pour in half a cup of water, cover the pan, and let them steam. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low.

New red potatoes and a few little turnips (my last-minute
addition) roasing in a sauté pan on top of the stove

If the water all boils away or is absorbed by the potatoes, add a little more. Toward the end of the cooking, when the potatoes are getting close to being done, uncover the pan and let most of the water evaporate.

Once the potatoes are roasted and the pintade or poulet is braised, combine the contents of the two pans in a serving dish, pouring on the braising liquid from the poultry. You can strain out the thyme and shallots if you want to, or leave them in. Make sure to deglaze the pan with a little more white wine if there are brown bits on the bottom that would add flavor.

Here's the pay-off:
Pintade braisée aux champignons et pommes de terre nouvelles.

Serve with a green salad on the side or as a separate course. Bread and wine. Cheese afterwards. Don't eat too much. The leftovers will also be very good.


  1. The potatoes in your first photo are the MOST beautiful potatoes I've ever seen!

  2. As usual I feel hungry after reading your post. For lunch I'll have two poached eggs in Meurette Sauce that I prepared Sunday. Can't wait!

  3. I still nhink you guys should have your own TV cooking show.
    RYN: I expect that kind of situation because of the jet lag, but we've been here for two weeks, it's time to get adjusted.

  4. BettyAnn, I bought those potatoes at SuperU, in a 2.5 kg bag. Then I sorted them by size, using only the smaller ones for the recipe.

    CHM, hope the meurette was good.

    Starman, :^)

  5. Got come bargain priced pintade in Super U at Chabris(2.80 euros for two large drumsticks). Looked for a recipe and stumbled across your blog and recipe. Absolutely delicious thanks so much.
    Now every time we go shopping we scour the cabinets for pintade.


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